Wednesday, April 27, 2011

30 years of the BMW GS

30 years of the BMW GS

I don’t know what possessed BMW to give the R80 G/S a red saddle back in 1980. But it’s become one of the most enduring motorcycle liveries of all time. The G/S was designed to combine on-road and off-road qualities, just like a traditional scrambler—but unlike most scramblers, it was also an accomplished long-distance tourer. Then Hubert Auriol won the 1981 Paris—Dakar Rally, and the G/S reputation for reliability was born. The “G/S” designation (Gelände/Straße, or off-road/on-road) soon became the GS (Gelände Sport) we know today, and the Germans have dominated the adventure touring market ever since. Next month, BMW celebrates 30 years of the GS with new bikes harking back to the original livery—including that iconic red saddle, white bodywork, white indicators and a tinted windshield. There’s a great overview of the GS bikes on webBikeworld, and if that’s whetted your appetite, a terrific new book you can order called BMW GS: Adventure Motorcycle: A 30 Year Catalog, by Hans-Jugen Schneider. [Available on Amazon.]

BMW F800 GS '30 Years GS' special edition
BMW R100 GS Paris-Dakar

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